The head coaching matchup is a major storyline as Super Bowl LIII week arrives in Atlanta. Bill Belichick, the grizzled veteran with three decades of NFL coaching experience and a full hand of Super Bowl rings to his resume, faces Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay, a 33-year-old about to be the youngest head coach in Super Bowl history.
During a conference call with the media on Jan. 22, Belichick was asked if he got to know McVay when the Patriots and Rams negotiated a trade that sent wide receiver Brandin Cooks to Los Angeles last April.
“Yeah, I know him,” Belichick said.
Belichick’s answer, short as is usually expected from the head coach, does not appear to fully capture the scope of his relationship with McVay. During McVay’s conversation with Peter King of NBC Sports, the Rams head coach said he and Belichick spoke at the NFL combine last year.
“He was really great in the conversation we had, really enlightening,” McVay said.
But that’s not all: according to McVay, the Patriots head coach took notice of how well the Rams performed this season as early as Sept. 27, when Los Angeles defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4 of the NFL regular season and took the time to reach out to McVay personally throughout the season.
“This is wild,” McVay said. “This season, he has basically texted me after every one of our games. After we beat Minnesota in September, he texted, ‘Man, you guys are really explosive and impressive and fun to watch. Congratulations—keep it rolling.’ For him to even take the time to say congrats, it’s pretty cool. That’s one of the things I like about our business, our fraternity of coaches. As competitive as it is, guys find time to share when they can. I’m still young, still figuring it out. That stuff’s been really helpful to me.”
King writes that although McVay could learn a lot from Belichick, the Patriots’ head coach might have also picked things up from the younger McVay. Two other current NFL head coaches have picked McVay’s brain on offensive schemes, King writes, adding that “Belichick keeps relationships with lots of coaches who aren’t just the big-name guys. He wants to learn what’s new and what’s next.”